Whether your employee onboarding process is long or short, organizing a complete onboarding program is challenging. Especially considering that onboarding a new employee works differently in every organization. To help HR get started with setting up or streamlining the onboarding process , and line managers in keeping the onboarding process organized, we gathered our best practices and made a complete onboarding checklist.
This article provides a timeline which explains the onboarding program from start to finish. Each stage contains different chapters with items contained in the checklist template.
Accompanying this article, a free onboarding checklist template is available for download:
Get your free Onboarding Checklist Template
Note: These steps are included in the onboarding checklist and can be changed according to your needs. Ultimately, the checklist can be used as a basis for HR (and onboarding) software such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP and Oracle.
Day zero: Onboarding starts with pre-onboarding
Take away the initial tension by preparing the new employee, also known as pre-boarding. Apart from handling the initial paperwork, there are many things you can do at this stage.
The first stages of the onboarding checklist are:
HR Paperwork and compliance
- Contracts and paperwork are signed.
- NDA is read and signed.
- Ask for a copy of the employee’s passport.
- Explain documents and processes regarding salary and payroll.
- Explain leave, holiday, and sickness policy.
- Share company policies and codes of conduct, including insurance, benefits, retirement, etc.
Company culture and branding
- Write about the company mission, vision, and culture (on various platforms such as your company’s dedicated career site).
- Share stories about the founding and goals of the organization.
- Send a goodie bag with company gadgets, personal business cards and other materials for the employee to share with their network.
HR and IT onboarding activities checklist
- Set up a new user account (or notify IT).
- Arrange company assets (laptop, phone, lease vehicle, etc.).
- Provide access to shared devices (printer, copier, etc.)
- Update HR system.
- Update payroll system.
- Update org chart.
Pre-boarding – Going the extra mile
If you want to go the extra mile, consider adding the following points to your pre-onboarding checklist:
- Share a floorplan of the office and other useful materials.
- Introduce the employee to the team, or let the team welcome the new employee before their first day.
- Assign the new hire to a buddy, who will guide them through their first weeks.
- Organize an informal lunch with the new hire’s future team.
- Plan (introductory) meetings with management and other influential figures.
Onboarding day one: Anchors aweigh!
The first day of the onboarding is the most important and thus thrilling for the new hire. This is also the point where onboarding changes from organizing things to actually executing the onboarding program.
On the first day, its recommended to prevent loads of paperwork because the employee has other things on their mind.
The first stages of the new hire checklist include:
A warm welcome
- Prepare a welcome message on the new hire’s desk.
- Inform the entire department (or company) of the arrival of their new colleague.
- Arrange a buddy who can show them around the office.
- Check if all pre-planned meetings still go through.
- Optional: Post a welcome message on the company’s social media channels.
Essential work items to provide
- Keys to the office.
- Office supplies.
- A company phone and laptop.
- Other tools relevant to the job.
Useful information and access to systems
- Share an organizational chart, ideally containing the job description and contact details of relevant colleagues.
- Provide a cheat sheet with the most important contacts.
- Provide access to- and login details for systems.
- Add the employee to chat groups and knowledge sharing facilities.
The first week of onboarding: Showing the ropes
After the first few days, the employee is starting to get used to their new role. For the employee it is now time to have their first task(s) assigned and start to meet other relevant colleagues in the company.
Towards the end of the first week of onboarding, it is also a great time for colleagues to informally gather and have some fun.
The following onboarding activities can be included in the first week:
Essential HR activities during the first week
- Give the employee their initial assignment(s).
- Ask how the new employee’s week is going.
- Check if all documents and paperwork is signed and received.
- Check if the new colleague received all essential assets and if everything works.
- Ensure the employee has met with their managers and key colleagues.
- Invite the employee for a photo session, which can later be shared on the website and social media.
- Check if the employee needs anything.
- Continue to provide feedback.
The first month of onboarding: On board or left high and dry?
As the end of the first month is nearing, the employee has learned a lot about the company. If the onboarding course was set up and executed well, the new employee may have settled in by now.
From this point, onboarding activities can be dialed back for HR and, depending on your organization’s policies, the employee’s manager can take on routine tasks like performance reviews.
Wrapping up the onboarding program
- Ensure all practical tasks and materials from the preboarding stage have been completed and studied, including all required documents.
- Check if the employee’s manager has planned periodic meetings so both sides stay up to date.
- Organize a performance goalsetting meeting (with HR or the manager).
- Introduce the employee to the company’s Learning Management facilities.
- Assign relevant training courses (depending on the employee’s role).
Onboarding after three months: Cruising the high seas
By now, the employee is most likely working as if they were part of the company for years. Now that the onboarding course has been completed, it is a good time to ask the employee once more how they experienced their first months.
The final part of the employee onboarding checklist contains the following stages:
Evaluating the onboarding program
- Plan a feedback moment with the new employee to review the onboarding program.
- Review the onboarding course; Ask if you are on the right track. What could go better?
- Plan and hold the employee’s probation review.
- Formally acknowledge that the employee will or will not continue to work.
Post-onboarding – The road ahead
- Align with the employee’s manager whether the six-month (and yearly) performance review is set up correctly. This includes discussing goals, plans and other projects for the upcoming year.
- Plan the half-yearly or yearly performance review, or align this with the line manager.
Download the ultimate onboarding checklist
Use this checklist template to make sure you don’t forget anything in your employee onboarding process. Our free template can help you to set up your onboarding plan for new employees. It is editable in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets and suited for print (A4 or print to PDF).
Get your free Onboarding Checklist Template
Onboarding task automation with the Boarding Web App
While a digital onboarding checklist is useful in and of itself, Onboarding software can help you to streamline your onboarding process even more.
FourVision’s Boarding Web App for Microsoft Dynamics 365 HR and F&O supports Onboarding, Offboarding and Cross-boarding. It allows you to assign onboarding tasks to persons and departments whilst creating onboarding templates in Dynamics 365 for employees.
When properly set up, the Onboarding Web App can automatically cross off items on the checklist upon completion, and notify the assigned person.
If you wish to learn more about Onboarding best practices in general, feel free to read our collection of articles about the topic: